ACE FREHLEY OF KISS AT STEVE RODRIGUEZ (THE DRAGONS)
MEMORIAL LAST SUNDAY AT CASBAH IN SAN DIEGO
Memorial Concert Raised Over $7,000
GoFundMe Campaign Raised Over $8,000
All Contributions Go To College Fund For Son Jesse Rodriguez
Last Sunday night Ace Frehley (KISS) honored the memory of Steve Rodriguez (1967-2015) by playing with The Dragons (Mario Escovedo, Ken Horne, Jarrod Lucas) at a memorial at the Casbah in San Diego. The bands and the music community raised over $7,000 at the concert and over $8,000 via GoFundMe campaign. All contributions go towards a college fund for Rodriguez's son, Jesse.
In addition to Ace Frehley members of The Bronx and The Zeros joined The Dragons for an incredible night of music and remembrances. Attendees were also treated to performances by Steve Poltz, Uncle Joe's Big Ol' Driver, and Saint Shameless. A video tribute was produced and edited by Maren Parusel featuring a collage of photos depicting Steve Rodriguez's life and emotional video messages from Seiji of Guitar Wolf (Japan), Ginger from The Wildhearts (England), Sami Yaffa from Hanoi Rocks/Mad Juana/Michael Monroe (Finland), and Ronnie Barnett from The Muffs (California). Video can be viewed HERE.
Many others turned out to pay their respect and share stories, including Tony Bee from the Adolescents, John Reiss from Rocket From The Crypt, Lou Carus of Junk Records and countless other musicians, fans and community leaders.
Steve Rodriguez passed away on July 21, 2015. Besides The Dragons his bands included Infantry, Mad Juana, The Zeros, and of late his own band Saint Shameless. He is survived by his wife of many years, Jamie, and their son Jesse.
Publicity requests may be directed to Ilka Erren Pardinas at Fly PR:
Any other inquiries may be directed to Mario Escovedo at:
PHOTO CREDITS AND CAPTIONS
photo outside Casbah with Ace Frehley/KISS from left to right: Ken Horne, Javier Escovedo, Ace Frehley, Mario Escovedo, Jesse Rodriguez, Jarrod Lucas
By: Maren Parusel
photo on stage from left to right: Hector Penalosa of The Zeros, Ace Frehley, Mario Escovedo, Jarrod Lucas, Matt Caughthran of The Bronx, Javier Escovedo, Ken Horne
Steve Rodriguez portrait by Derek Plank (photo of Jesse by Mario Escovedo)
When they announced they were breaking up back in 2006, I cried then too. I loved this band so much and they brought such pleasure to my life and the lives of others; how could they call it quits? The music industry is a tough place to work. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to get out there and tour, playing sometimes for pennies and almost no one listening. The lifestyle can take it's toll on relationships and on one's health. I understood that probably better than most, having worked with many bands over the course of their careers.
My heart broke when I got the news via Facebook that Steve Rodriguez, bass player for The Dragons, had passed away suddenly July 21, 2015. Disbelief, shock, questions...all flashed through my mind in an instant. And then the tears came. Only a few weeks prior I had cherished hopes that The Dragons might reform and play the Gearhead Anniversary party I was putting together for the fall. Now, I will never see them play again.
It takes a specific type of personality to be able to weather the stresses of band life, and Steve seemed to be that person. He was married to a lovely lady, Jamie, and had a cute kid, Jesse. He was so proud of his wife and son, and while I never got to meet his son, and only met his wife a couple of times, I knew that was one relationship that could withstand the rigors of the road. I was happy for them, and happy to see love thrive in the otherwise desolate landscape of constant touring. Being a woman in the music industry is rough. Many people think all you have to do is sleep with the band, and you're in the inner sanctum. I had the privilege of being one of the lucky few who got to work closely with the bands but never had to resort to sex to spend time with them. I had a strict rule: no sleeping with the bands! It allowed me to do my work, be the boss, but also be a friend and confident.
I went on tour with The Dragons and The Riverboat Gamblers in 2003. It was a blast, and really eye-opening. Much of touring is simply moving from one city to another, spending countless hours on the road discovering new ways to pass the time as you travel in cramped uncomfortable vehicles to the next show. It's the type of situation that can cause crankiness and frayed nerves to escalate into fights and disagreements but that never happened, at least while I was with them. In every picture of Steve, he is laughing, enjoying life, celebrating his friends and music and how much pleasure it gave him. And that is always how he was with me.
There was always time for a smile and a hug. He was especially good at the hugs. They were warm and deep and came from his very soul. He never held back, and there was never anything superficial in those hugs. I am a pretty shy person, although you might never guess that. During one stop on the tour, we were at a house party in Boston, and I felt very out of place. I didn't know anyone except the bands I was traveling with. I'm not really a drinker or a partier, and all I wanted was to go to sleep. Steve seemed to sense how uncomfortable I was and stuck close by my side talking and laughing, making sure I was ok. It meant so much to me, tears come to my eyes now as I remember how relieved I was to have him there with me, making me feel safe.
He became my guardian angel that night, and for the rest of the tour, he always made sure I was ok, feeling safe and comfortable, had food to eat or a beer if I wanted. He was thoughtful and kind, and there was no rock-star bullshit. He could have very easily pulled attitude with me, but he never did, and I never saw him pull it with anyone. H just seemed to thrive on being a nice, sweet kind guy, the kind of guy his wife and son would be proud of. Steve was a rock star in the truest sense of the word. He shone so bright when he was rocking!
His signature song was Joan Jett's Bad Reputation. As soon as Steve stepped up to that mike, you knew what was coming next. He rocked and sang with passion and enthusiasm and fun every single time I saw him perform it. And no one could have done it like Steve. It was just his song!
It's hard to put into words how much someone can touch your life without you really even knowing it. As I sift through the pictures and the memories, I wonder if he ever knew how deeply his kindness and love touched me. I don't think I ever told him. It makes me want to be a better person, more loving and more open and vulnerable, telling those I love how much they mean to me. Telling the bands that have touched my life how grateful I am to have worked with them, learned from them, shared with them.
To those of us left to honor his memory, I think that is one of the best ways we can do it. Be grateful for the close bonds of friendship and love that surround you. We all have them, even if you're not in a romantic relationship with someone. As we walk through our lives, we touch those around us, even if we're not aware of it. Little acts of kindness and generosity are what it's all about after all. Leaving the world a little bit better than how you found it. Many blessings and prayers to those touched by Steve's life, especially his brothers Mario, Kenny and Jarrod from The Dragons, and his wife Jamie and son Jesse. He has passed out of our lives physically, but emotionally, he is there, always reminding us to smile, to love, to be genuine and authentic, and most of all to make those around you feel loved and special. Rock with the angels my friend. I know they will enjoy you as much as we did.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help with expenses and to create a college fund for his son. Please donate what you can! A lovely video has been put together honoring Steve. You can watch it here. Also, a memorial show has been set up for Sunday Aug. 2, 2015 at The Casbah in San Diego. For more information go here.
With Stammering Lips and insufficient sounds, I strive and struggle to deliver right,
The music of my nature…
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The weather has turned warm, which in California signals the beginning of car shows and swap meets. As anyone who is self-employed knows, you have to get out there and sell yourself and your wares if you want to make a living.
I’ve been hitting various car shows, most recently Viva Las Vegas, where I had a fabulous time supporting the Sacramento based hair pomade company Cock Grease, as well as handing out free copies of Gearhead Magazine and stickers.
A few days before that, I set up shop at the 4th Annual Beard Contest, held at the historic California Railroad Museum. The event was a fund-raiser for the Front Street Animal Shelter, a cause dear to my heart.
The end of May I head to Santa Maria to sell at the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals, a car show now in its 34th year! And then in June it’s up to Portland to take part in the Rose City Round Up Car Show.
It’s been a lot tougher than I thought getting the wheels rolling again with Gearhead®. You simply don’t disappear for 5 or 6 years and expect the market place and consumers to know the brand any more. Things change so quickly in this short attention span world. Once all you had to do was mention Gearhead in a bar or club or at a car show and everyone knew the bold checkered flag logo and the quirky reputation of its owners. Now that I’ve decided to crank up all things Gearhead again, I have to get out and meet people face to face. It’s the people that make having a business like Gearhead fun, as well as profitable. But so much of todays’ business is done by computer and emails that grabbing any opportunity to get out of the office and talk to people is a must.
I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed vending. It’s great swapping stories with people stopping by the booth, sharing information and learning new stuff. I’d also forgotten how exhausting can be.
There are lots of you who I’ll never meet, or get a chance to talk to directly, so that’s why this newsletter is so important. It’s still the best way to get the word out when personal interaction isn’t possible.
As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I’m in the middle of writing the content for the new magazine. To do that, I am trying to make a living selling the t-shirts, music and magazines that makes up the Gearhead® brand. If I don’t sell stuff, I don’t get paid, simple as that. I find myself slipping into old patterns of worrying about how to keep this business going. Everyone says once a new issue of the magazine comes out, it will be much easier to keep the money flowing in, but fear keeps me striving to make things happen faster.
I have new respect for my former partner Mike. Many people criticized him for only publishing the magazine once a year, but I gotta tell you, it is probably one of the hardest, most creatively draining things I’ve ever done.
Writing content, selling ads, putting together the layout and distribution all takes time and effort, and of course while I’m doing this, I am trying to take care of my personal needs as well: exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep, finding a way to pay the rent and the rest of the bills like car insurance. Then there’s trying to spend quality time with my boyfriend and my two sweet puppies (you can see pictures of them on Instagram). All this gives rise to perfectionism as I struggle to take care of it all.
I know that there’s going to be mistakes; that’s just the nature of being human. But the constant self-criticism that comes up as I work towards delivering a finished product takes its toll emotionally, as well as physically and spiritually. I’m recovering from one of the worst bouts of flu I’ve ever had and I’m very aware that I brought this on myself by trying to do everything, and be perfect at it all. Maybe this mindset sounds familiar to some of you!
I have a tendency to take on way too many projects. While things were dormant, it was so easy to keep my life balanced between work and play, but I’m finding myself slipping back into old workaholic patterns of control and perfectionism; Thankfully, I remember how awful that felt and how destructive that behavior can be. I’ve worked too hard to heal myself and I don’t intend to blow it all up simply because I’ve created this idea of what Gearhead has to be to be successful.
So I’m stepping back, and surrendering. I thought I’d have this magazine done in a snap and out on newsstands by the end of May, but that’s not gonna happen. It’s gonna come out when it’s ready to come out!
I’ve decided Gearhead is going to be a successful business once again, but not at the expense of my health and my sanity. Yes, I need your financial support if I am going to do this full time. But I also need to be realistic about how much I’m capable of doing in a day. As much as I’d like to be, I’m not Wonder Woman, even though I have the shoes!
Which brings to me to asking for your help yet again. I’ll be running several fundraisers in the coming months. The money raised will go to paying the ongoing bills of running this business: paying rent and utilities, bringing back out of print products as well as paying my very small salary so I can take care of my personal expenses. There will also be a special Indieagogo fundraiser with the money going towards printing the magazine. I’ll talk more about all this in the May newsletter.
But for now, I’ve put several items up for pre-sale (Punk Cross T-Shirt, Leadfoot Shirt), as well as restocked the much loved Spark Plug shirt. If you want to see these shirts come back into print, please go buy one for yourself or a friend! Back issues of the magazine are available again, so if you missed an issue or two, please pick one up. Of course the entire back catalog of cds and records are still available, as well as posters, stickers and patches. Many limited quantities of out of print items are only available in the EBay store, so if you haven’t visited that in a while, please go check it out.
My struggles pale in comparison to what the people of Nepal are facing. In light of the disaster that recently struck Nepal, I would like to take this opportunity to make a difference, even if it’s just a little bit. I’ll be donating 10% of any sales that come in through the Gearhead Store from now through May 1, 2015 to AmeriCares, one of the top-rated relief charities that are vetted by Charity Navigator. You can read more about them here.
Ok, things are getting a little heavy, so let’s lighten this conversation up! The Lords of Altamont have been touring like crazy (you lucky Europeans!) and both the CD and LP of their new record Lords Take Altamont are in the 2nd pressing. The vinyl is again a limited edition pressing of 500 copies (also with a free digital download coupon), but this time its Splatter Vinyl, a mix of yellow, red and black! It’s way cool, so make sure you go snag one today as these are selling fast.
Our old pals The White Barons are back kicking ass and taking names with their new rocker Electric Revenge. Miss Eva Von Slut lends her wall-shaking vocals to 11 sing-along rockers on a limited edition vinyl only release, pressing of 500 copies with a free digital download. You can also pick this bad-boy up on ITunes, but the vinyl features some eye-popping cover art by Vince Ruarus. They even got the Dwarves' Blag Dahlia singing on a couple of tracks "Black Rider" and "You're Mine Tonight". This record totally rocks if I do say so myself. I’m so happy to be working with this band again!
And finally, before I sign off, Please Save The Date! Sept 26, 2015 at the Blue Lamp in Sacramento, we will rock the house with the Gearhead Anniversary Party, celebrating my fifteen years with Gearhead. I’ll announce more details as we get the band line up finalized, but suffice it to say, it will be a night to remember. And it will officially mark the second official Gearfest held in the US! So those of you abroad, think about joining us.
Make sure you’re following Gearhead on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’m constantly posting new pictures, contests and other tidbits of interest. It’s a nice way to stay in touch in between newsletters.
If you’re getting this newsletter, you signed up for it, bought something from us, or contacted us in some way, or a friend signed you up. If you don’t want to get the newsletter anymore, just send a nice email with Unsubscribe in the subject line.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support and enthusiasm. It makes doing this all worthwhile.
Till next time, keep the rubber on the road!
Xo Rev. Michelle
As images of devastation and tragedy in Nepal and neighboring countries rattled by Saturday's earthquake pour across social media and TV, the natural question for many people is, "What can I do to help?"
After disasters, the best way to help is generally to donate money to effective and efficient charities that have an established presence on the ground. Charity Navigator is one of the leading resources for evaluating the work of nonprofits, and the organization has posted a list of highly-ranked charities that have mounted relief operations in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude temblor that originated outside the capital, Kathmandu.
More than 5,000 people have been confirmed dead, Nepalese officials reported Tuesday. About 500,000 people have been left homeless.
Gearhead will be donating 10% of all sales from now through May 1, 2015 that come in through our web store.
This article is from PRI.ORG. Read the full article here
I believe that if we are able, we should give back to the community we live in. As the owner of Gearhead® I have organized fund-raisers over the years for various local organizations that really do good things for the communities I've lived and worked in.
So for this holiday season, I'm asking each of you in the Sacramento area to bring a can or a box of non-perishable food to Sacramento Tattoo, now until Dec. 28, 2014. They're located at 2722 X St., Sacramento, CA 95818. They're open every day from 12 Noon til 10 PM.
In exchange, you'll get a free copy of Gearhead® Magazine. That's it. Really simple.
All food collected will be donated to the Elk Grove Food Bank so please share what you can. And please feel free to share and re-post this.
If you're not in the area, stay tuned. I'll be posting up my favorite charities that Gearhead regularly donates to. Thank you for your help and donations! Merry Christmas!
Rock 'n' Roll/Automotive Journalist, Influencer, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine,